“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.” (Isaiah 52:7-8)School has started again for most of us, vacation days are almost gone and we now enter a new rhythm of our lives. We will soon start to see the beginnings of fall here in the United States. But for many of the people we pray for, every day involves some level of struggle just to survive. For others it is a repetition of sameness even in the midst of evident prosperity. And for others it is a hope of peace and a safe dwelling place. How wonderful it is that our prayers can interrupt their lives with the promise of peace, hope and joy through a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Seasons may change but our God is always faithful. May we include these nations in the new rhythm of our lives during the coming days.
1.-2. Nigeria: The unity of Nigeria is critical. The combined effects of ancient tribal hatreds, Muslim conquests, British colonial policy in which the North and South were handled differently and the bitter Biafra war of 1967-70 have left deep scars.
Pray for healing and reconciliation.
The introduction of shari’a law in northern Muslim states is a direct challenge to the federal government and a danger to national stability. Pray with Nigerian Christians for the preservation of national unity, the integrity of the federal constitution and for full religious freedom.
The culture of greed and corruption runs deep. Nigeria has become infamous for spectacular international scams, international crime and drug-running. Pray that God may raise up many more who fear Him and have the moral integrity and courage to tackle the rottenness manifest in society.
Pray that Christian values and lifestyle may affect every area of national life and that Nigeria attain its potential as a light to the world for God.
Persecution in Nigeria’s northern states between 1991 and 2000 led to the death of thousands of believers, murder of pastors and destruction of hundreds of churches in Kaduna, Gombe, Sokoto, Kano, Bauchi, etc. This has united Christians as never before, but also driven them to the Lord in prayer.
Pray for: a) Forgiveness for persecutors and deliverance from a spirit of revenge. b) Restoration and recovery for those who have suffered loss, bereavement and rape. c) The Christian Association of Nigeria and its ministry of representing Nigeria’s 58 million Christians to the local and federal authorities. d) The conversion of Muslims – both persecutors and those appalled by the behaviour of their co-religionists. There have been many won to Christ over recent years.
3. Norway: Norway’s large contribution to world evangelization continues. It is one of the top sending nations in the world. Norway has a rich spiritual heritage. The influence of Pietism, prayer and revival movements within the State Church over the past 200 years are still strong. About 90% of Norwegians are church members and 30% would claim a personal relationship to Christ, but only 5-10% are active and regular participants in congregational life. Norway’s commitment to world evangelization has been exemplary. There are an estimated 2,600+ prayer houses (many involved in missions) and 14,000 mission support groups in the country. The Norwegian Mission Council has provided support and fellowship for most of the mission agencies. In 2001 the Norwegian Council for Mission and Evangelism assumed this role. The number of missionaries sent out had declined somewhat, but by 2000 this had stabilized. Saami Christians have started a missionary training college to prepare and send missionaries to reach other Arctic peoples in the FSU.
Pray that vision for world evangelization may increase and bear much fruit.
4. Oman: Rapid social change since 1970 has transformed Oman. Oil wealth, rising education levels and the opening up to the wider world have broadened the minds of Omanis. The younger generation in particular is outward looking and interested in new ideas. Though slavery was abolished many years ago there still remains a ‘spirit of slavery’ in attitudes, creating another obstacle to the gospel in the hearts of Omanis.
Pray that many may become receptive to spiritual change too.
The entire Muslim majority is a big challenge. There are no known believers among the Mahra of Dhofar, the Baluch of the eastern coasts, the rural population or the Swahili speakers.
There are perhaps a handful of indigenous believers, none professing Christ openly.
Pray that they may grow and begin to meet with other believers.
5.-8. Pakistan: Over the next four days pray that as this nation establishes new leadership following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf, that an effectual door of opportunity will open for a display of the enduring love of the Lord within this nation.
After half a century of misrule, Pakistan needs a government that allows a real democracy to develop and spends its income on economic rather than military development, ends a culture of uncontrolled corruption and gives a fair deal to all its citizens.
Pray for the binding of the spirit of lawlessness and violence that has crippled this nation, and for the raising up of leaders of integrity.
Islamism has severely damaged the economy and social cohesion of society. It has trampled on the constitutional rights of women and minorities subverted the judicial system and brought fear and violence to this nation. The growing network of Islamic schools is poisoning the next generation with hatred for India, the West and Christians, and extolling a willingness to die fighting for Islam.
Pray that this ideology might be so discredited that its influence may be broken.
Shari’a law has only been partially implemented, but its effects for minorities are dire. There is a mandatory death sentence for ‘disrespect to the Prophet’ and a life sentence for desecration of the Qur’an. The potential for malicious rumors and false charges against Christians has been realized. Innocent people have been sentenced to long terms of imprisonment. Any judge that seeks to dismiss the charges is intimidated and threatened.
Pray for the abrogation of discriminatory legislation – specifically, the blasphemy law – implementation of a fair system of justice and a police force that impartially applies the law.
Christian missions have been working in the land since 1833. Christian standards and institutions have had a deep impact on the country – a fact which Islamists want to ignore. Presbyterians, Anglicans, Methodists and, later, Salvation Army missionaries pioneered the work. There was a great turning to the Lord from among six of the 30 scheduled Hindu castes between 1890 and 1930. This was accompanied by revival in 1904. Other missions, predominantly evangelical, entered Pakistan around the time of independence. There are few Muslims who would think of becoming Christians. Most despise the humble origins of the church here which first reached the Hindu ‘untouchables’, or Dalit of the Panjab, or tribal peoples of the Sindh.
Pray that these barriers of culture, religion and history may be broken down. Pray for more effective partnering between groups in their ministry.
9. Palestine: Christian Palestinians trace their roots back to pre-Islamic times. The antagonisms of the conflict have provoked many to immigrate to Western countries, and their numbers have declined dramatically from around 10% in 1940 to 1.4% in 2000. Many see the Christians as having been the glue for, and a bridge in, society.
Pray that Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant Christians alike may stand for and witness to the Truth, and be protected amid rising levels of intimidation by their Muslim neighbors.
Arab Evangelicals number about 2,000 in 30 churches, of which 20 are on the West Bank. They feel rejected by Jews, Arabs, traditional Christians and even Western Evangelicals and thus isolated. Those from a Muslim background have been specifically targeted by Islamists. The loss of leadership through emigration is serious. Bethlehem Bible College is a key ministry with 80 full- or part-time students.
Pray for these brethren to stand steadfast and immovable in the Lord.
Panama: Panama is a nation of great diversity and great potential. Because of its strategic location and the canal, Panama has become a melting pot of many races. The country’s motto is ‘Panama, Bridge to the World, Heart of the Universe’.
Pray that this unique nation may bless the world.
Amerindians have been responding well to the gospel. The church-planting ministries of numerous denominations and missions have been fruitful. All eight people groups now have viable churches. The Bible translation program of SIL in seven languages is nearing its goal of a NT for each. SIL workers have had frustrating delays
Pray for the completion of the remaining two NTs.
Pray also for the full flowering of a vital and truly indigenous church in each people group, and for the work of NTM and GMU to this end.
10.-11. Papua New Guinea: Over the past 120 years the gospel has spread throughout PNG, first along the coast and then inland, and finally in the past 40 years into the Highlands. Nearly all the tribes have been reached. In some there have been mass movements to Christianity. Today over 96% claim to be Christian. Praise God for the presence of an alive, vibrant church today. But the ready acceptance of the gospel has resulted in a superficial Christianity of the majority without a radical transformation of basic values and beliefs. True discipling is an urgent need. In some areas there is already disillusionment and a turning back to traditional customs, drunkenness, gambling, cargo cults or other syncretistic groups. Revivals have occurred in many areas (e.g. East and West Sepik, New Britain, North Solomon and Highlands areas) but follow-up discipling in these situations is greatly needed. There is also vigorous growth in Pentecostal and charismatic fellowships in many areas, especially the towns.
Pray for revival and deep repentance which will result in true disciples and transformed cultures.
12. Paraguay: Paraguay still suffers the effects of two centuries of tyranny, war and government incompetence. Occasional internal political strife and a lack of strong moral leadership hinder the country’s progress. Pray that godly men would emerge from this Christianized nation to lead with wisdom and uprightness.
Most of Paraguay’s Protestants are German-speaking Mennonites and Lutherans, Ukrainian Baptists and Pentecostals and Korean Presbyterians. These immigrant communities are often culturally isolated from the mainstream of national life, and therefore lack outward vision. Nominalism is also a common problem.
Pray that these communities might experience a renewal of spiritual vigor and the birth of a vision for a transformed Paraguay.
13.-14. Peru: The Catholic Church is in a crisis. Over 80% of its clergy are foreign. It is polarized between the traditionalists and those who espouse liberation theology. The charismatic movement has had a deep impact, but those touched have often formed autonomous groups or joined evangelical churches. There has been large loss of numbers to indigenous movements and foreign sects, as well as to the Evangelicals. Only 15% of Catholics are regular in church attendance; the great majority is highly syncretistic Christo-pagans. Pre-Hispanic religions are being revived and new religious movements multiplying.
Pray for many to come to the light and liberty of the biblical gospel.
The Lowland Amerindians have responded to the preaching of missionaries of South American Mission, Swiss Indian Mission, SIL and others. The three Lowland provinces of the upper Amazon have the highest percentage of evangelical believers in the country. A network of churches planted by different agencies is developing and growing (FAIENAP) in 13 or more peoples. The problems they face are huge – ecologically insensitive oil and mining companies, terrorism and drug trafficking.
Pray that the churches among them may become strong and enable these peoples to withstand the destructive impact of the outside world on their cultures. SIL has been involved in the translation of 17 NTs for non-Quechua peoples, and has teams committed to a further 12.
15-17. Philippines: The great potential of the Philippines has not yet been realized despite being rich in natural resources and having a well-educated population. Failures by successive governments to deal with the serious economic and social issues have held back development, and kept half the population in poverty.
Pray specifically for: a) A government that actively pursues justice and righteousness. There are key Christians in major posts of leadership – may they decisively influence the nation for good.
Pray for the Fellowship of Christians in the Government which exists to fight corruption and promote biblical standards.
b) A change in the political culture that deals with the endemic greed and corruption, ends cronyism, and also initiates long-delayed land reform (70% of farmers are landless) and improves the health and prospects of the poor by investment in the basic infrastructure of the country. c) Peace in Mindanao between the marginalized, resentful Muslim population and the government and local ‘Christian’ majority. Extreme Islamist factions are unwilling to compromise and claim four provinces, two with Muslim minorities, for an Islamic state.
Pray for a fair, workable solution that will end the cycle of violence, kidnappings and suffering.
Pray also that the centuries of perceived ‘Christian’ oppression may end with a freedom and respect for the gospel.
18.-19. Poland: Dreams of instant wealth from capitalism have proved elusive and hollow. Crime, violence and immorality are on the rise – particularly in the younger generation.
Pray for the stability, progress and freedom that allows the good news to be preached. Pray that the Polish quest for material advancement might be subordinated to the search for God.
Thousands of towns and villages remain without an evangelical witness, often mired in empty tradition. Pray for Polish Evangelicals to catch a vision for the salvation of their countrymen as well as their European neighbors.
Bible training for church leaders, a much needed ministry, is developing fast. There are about 25 Protestant institutions ranging from seminary level to part-time or correspondence Bible schools – remarkable for a land with so small a Protestant presence!
Pray for biblical faithfulness, spiritual power and missions’ vision to be the hallmark of the ministry of graduates.
20. Portugal: Religious and political freedoms gained in 1975 have transformed the nation, but the ancient heart-bondages remain. The veneration of Mary is a ‘Christian’ veneer over the old paganism and an estimated 90% of the population consults spiritist mediums and witches. To this are added the new bondages of materialism, self-centeredness and alcohol and drug abuse. The teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and New Age philosophies have gained a wide hearing.
Pray for many to be released and for discerning Christian leaders able to effectively expose these false doctrines.
The Roman Catholic Church is strongly traditional and has much influence, but needs renewal. The north is more loyal to the Church, but in the centre and south the Church is becoming irrelevant to the secularized majority of the population. Pray for a renewing work of the Holy Spirit in which many are opened to the illumination of the Scriptures, freed from traditionalism and introduced to a warm personal relationship with Jesus.
21. Puerto Rico: The long unresolved issue of Puerto Rico’s political future has divided the nation. People are torn between the present political status as a commonwealth linked to the USA, becoming a US state, or complete independence. The use of Vieques Island as a bombing range by the US Navy is a serious source of controversy. Pray for a resolution to these complex conflicts – a political and identity crisis which affects every level of society. Societal problems cry out for Christian involvement. The incidence of AIDS, alcoholism, drug addiction, corruption, crime and poverty are some of the highest in the Americas.
Pray for humility, repentance, spiritual unity and burden for the lost among Christian leaders.
Over-population and unemployment have forced over 3 million Puerto Ricans to immigrate to the USA. About half live in and around New York, where they form the lowest income group. Some live in Hispanic ghettos, where frustration has driven large numbers to violence, drugs and immorality.
Pray for all specifically ministering to this community.
22. Qatar: There were no Qatari believers before 1985. Several have come to the Lord outside the country, but have suffered much for Him.
Pray that they may become the nucleus of a Qatari Church.
The Christian impact on society.
Pray that the small groups of believers among Indians, Pakistanis, Egyptians, Filipinos and Westerners may bear fruitful witness to their own communities.
Pray also that there may be opportunities to share with non-Christians of all peoples in the country.
Expatriates are drawn from many nations by the high earnings in Qatar but Christians are restricted in their witness because of the tight control of the authorities. Believers have long met together informally, but in 2000 the Emir granted land for a Christian compound to be built for the purpose of holding services.
Pray that this development may foster unity and cooperation between the diverse groups of believers.
23. Reunion: The dark legacy of slavery which was abolished in 1848, overshadows the present. The Creole populations are descendants of those slaves. Poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, dysfunctional families and high illegitimacy have marginalized this large underclass. A deep work of healing and laying to rest the legacy of the past is still far from complete.
Pray for the whole population to come to terms with the past – only really possible through faith in Christ.
Although Catholicism is the professed religion of over 80% of the population, the Malabar religion – a synthesis of Hinduism and African witchcraft – is the real faith of half the population and probably 90% are involved in some way. Since Vatican II, Bible reading has been promoted in the Catholic Church, and there is now a vigorous charismatic renewal movement.
Pray for the eyes of many nominal Christians to be opened to their need and to the Savior.
24.-25. Romania: The burden of a tragic past lies heavily upon Romania. The moral vacuum left by Ceausescu’s Communists has been replaced by every kind of social evil. Substance abuse, prostitution and violent crime are all on the increase. Romania has one of the highest abortion rates in the world. With freedom has come wealth for a few, but grinding poverty for the majority. Many spend most of their income on food. Pray that the nation’s leaders might boldly and uprightly address the many problems with wise solutions.
Pray that this disastrous legacy might be replaced by one of peace and righteousness.
The Lord’s Army is a remarkable, unofficial renewal movement within the Orthodox Church with about 300,000 converted adherents and many more sympathizers. It was severely persecuted in the past by both the Communists and the Orthodox hierarchy. Recently the Orthodox Church decided that the movement should be welcomed in the Church. The Lord’s Army has close links with the Evangelical Alliance.
Pray these believers may act as leaven in the whole Orthodox Church with its large nominal membership.
Religious freedom is a treasured, but threatened gain. The government, at the urging of some Orthodox leaders, has set tight restrictions for the registration and activity of other religious groups. Some groups in the Orthodox Church, reacting to what they see as Protestant predation of the faithful, are violently opposing evangelistic outreach. Millions of Romanians have grown up as Christians, but with no meaningful exposure to the gospel – only 2-4% of Orthodox believers take their faith very seriously.
Pray that there may be full freedom for the proclamation of the gospel and that there may be respect and trust – in all directions – between the major Christian bodies.
26.-30. Russia: Please take these next five days to pray for the Cease fire to be sustained and pray that those that have been displaced by the recent military actions of the Russian government find safety and sustenance.
Pray that during this time of conflict many people on both sides find the Prince of Peace and lasting salvation and healing through Jesus Christ.
Russia is a proud but despairing nation. It has been systematically plundered and looted by the very ones who once deceived it with the morally destructive Communist ideology. Democracy appears a farce, economic progress an illusion and capitalism another form of banditry. The hopes of spiritual renewal of the early 1990s have been dashed by the failures of both political and Church leadership.
Pray that Christian values of loving, sacrificial service and moral integrity might dispel the corrosive impact and legacy of Communism on both society and the Christian Church.
Thank you for the time you give in daily intercession for the nations of the earth. We continue to believe that they will have a visitation from the presence of the Lord. As you have prayed for others may the Lord answer the prayers of your heart.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
Mission Info Bank. Used by permission.
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